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API Security

Single Sign-On 🚪 - What is it? How does SSO work?


In this article, we will look at what is single sign-on and, the best strategies to prevent SSO.

Single Sign-On 🚪 - What is it? How does SSO work?

What is SSO - single sign-on?

With the assistance of single sign-on (SSO), clients can get to various sites and applications utilizing a solitary arrangement of login data. SSO works on the client confirmation strategy. No matter what the space, stage, or innovation being utilized, it happens when a client signs in to one program and is promptly endorsed in to other related applications. Various usernames and passwords can now be overseen all the more effectively across different records and administrations.

A pleasant representation is the point at which an individual signs in to Google and their certifications are in a split second confirmed across associated administrations, including Gmail and YouTube, without the need to independently register to each.

SSO Token

A gathering of information or data that is sent starting with one framework then onto the next during the SSO technique is known as a SSO token. The data may be essentially as fundamental as the client's email address and insights concerning the framework that is sending the token. For the symbolic collector to have the option to affirm that the token is coming from a solid source, tokens should be carefully marked. During the underlying setup process, the endorsement that is utilized for this advanced mark is moved.

What is SSO
SSO Scheme

The importance of SSO

SSO is significant in light of the fact that there are progressively more undertaking administrations and records that clients need to control admittance to, and every one of these administrations requires the degree of security that a username and secret word blend ordinarily offers. Notwithstanding, heads and clients who battle to pick secure passwords for a few records might find it hard to arrangement and deal with that multitude of records. Single sign-on keeps up with secure application access while unifying the technique for heads and clients.

SSO can be carried out utilizing different guidelines, yet they all comply to a similar essential construction. The critical angle is that they let applications to appoint command over client confirmation to another application or administration.

The SSO stage is seen by the framework director as a solitary place where client IDs can be dealt with. For example, admittance to different inward projects might be out of nowhere impaired when a representative withdraws an organization.

How does it work?

The foundation of SSO is a trust relationship established between a service provider—a program—and an identity provider—a company like OneLogin. A certificate that is exchanged between the identity provider and the service provider frequently serves as the foundation for this trust relationship. In order for the service provider to know that the identity information is coming from a reliable source, this certificate can be used to sign identity information that is being transferred from the identity provider to the service provider. In SSO, this identity data is represented by tokens that include identifying details about the person, such as their email address or username.

SSO works in view of a trust relationship set up between an application, known as the specialist co-op, and a personality supplier, as OneLogin. This trust relationship is frequently founded on an endorsement that is traded between the character supplier and the specialist organization. This endorsement can be utilized to sign character data that is being sent from the personality supplier to the specialist organization so the specialist co-op realizes it is coming from a confided in source. In SSO, this personality information appears as tokens which contain recognizing pieces of data about the client like a client's email address or a username.

This is regularly how the login interaction looks:

  • The client explores to the program or site — the "Specialist co-op" — that they want admittance to.
  • To demand client validation from the SSO framework, otherwise called the Identity Provider, the Service Provider conveys a token containing some client information, for example, the client's email address.
  • To permit admittance to the Service Provider application and move straightforwardly to stage 5, the Identity Provider should initially decide if the client has recently been validated.
  • The client will be provoked to sign in on the off chance that they haven't as of now by providing the Identity Provider's required qualifications. This could simply be a username and secret phrase or it could likewise have another confirmation strategy, like a One-Time Password (OTP).
  • The Identity Provider will send a symbolic back to the Service Provider checking an effective verification whenever it has confirmed the submitted certifications.
  • The client's program communicates this token to the specialist co-op.
  • The trust relationship that was laid out between the Service Provider and the Identity Provider during the underlying arrangement is utilized to approve the symbolic that is gotten by the Service Provider.
  • The specialist organization permits the client access.
  • The new site would have to have a comparable trust association set up with the SSO arrangement and the verification stream would follow similar systems when the client attempts to get to an alternate site.
SSO - Single Sign-On process

Types of SSO configurations

  1. SAML

The open standard Security Access Markup Language (SAML) considers the trading of character information by encoding text into machine language. It currently fills in as one of the principal SSO principles and helps application suppliers in guaranteeing the propriety of their validation demands. Data can be imparted over an internet browser because of SAML 2.0, which is extraordinarily intended for use in web applications.

  1. OAuth

Utilizing machine code encryption, the open-standard authorization component known as OAuth sends ID data between applications. This is especially useful for local applications since it empowers clients to allow admittance to their information starting with one application then onto the next without having to affirm their character physically.

  1. Kerberos

On uncertain organization associations, the client and server can commonly verify each other by checking the other's personality utilizing the Kerberos convention. Clients and programming programs like email clients or wiki servers are verified utilizing a ticket-conceding administration that disseminates tokens.

  1. OIDC

OIDC develops OAuth 2.0 to empower SSO and incorporate client explicit information. It makes it conceivable to involve a solitary login meeting for a few unique applications. For instance, it empowers clients to sign in to a help utilizing their Facebook or Google account as opposed to contributing their client qualifications.

  1. Smart card authentication

Notwithstanding ordinary SSO, equipment that can uphold a similar technique exists. Models incorporate genuine brilliant card perusers that clients might plug into their PCs. To verify the client, program speaks with cryptographic keys put away on a brilliant card. The brilliant cards should be genuinely conveyed by the client, running the risk of being lost, and they can be costly to utilize regardless of whether they are very secure and require a PIN to work.

Using SAML and OAuth in SSO

Correspondence guidelines are utilized by verification tokens to ensure their legitimacy. Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), which is the language used to make verification tokens, is the essential norm. Extensible Markup Language (XML) is utilized by the SAML standard to permit client verification and approval to be communicated over secure areas. SAML works with correspondence between the client, a SP, and the IdP when utilized in SSO.

Clients' data should be permitted to securely give them admittance to various administrations with a solitary login. This is made conceivable through the open approval (OAuth) design, which empowers different outsider administrations to utilize a client's record data. The SP tells the IdP of a client's solicitation for access, which the IdP then checks and validates prior to conceding the client access. Deciding to register to a site utilizing your Facebook account as opposed to a username and secret phrase is a pleasant delineation of this.

SSO can be utilized related to both the autonomous conventions OAuth and SAML. While SAML validates clients, OAuth is utilized to approve clients.

Advantages and challenges of single sign-on


  • Diminished assault surface: SSO kills secret word exhaustion and terrible secret word propensities, making your organization right away less defenseless to phishing. It decreases tedious and costly secret phrase resets and permits clients to focus on learning just a single secure, exceptional secret key.
  • Simple and secure client access: SSO gives organizations quick information on which clients, when, and from where, got to which applications, permitting them to protect the uprightness of their frameworks. SSO arrangements additionally handle security dangers like worker gadget misfortune, permitting IT groups to incapacitate admittance to accounts and significant information on the gadget rapidly.
  • Improved on client access evaluating: In an organization climate that is continuously transforming, it tends to be trying to ensure that the legitimate people approach basic data and assets at the suitable level. In view of a client's job, division, and level of status, access privileges can be designed utilizing SSO arrangements. This ensures steady straightforwardness and perceivability of the entrance levels.
  • proficient and viable clients: Users are mentioning quicker and more advantageous admittance to the projects they expect to finish their jobs. Physically handling demands is a relentless activity that main effectively irritates clients. SSO validation gets rid of the requirement for manual control, giving clients moment admittance to huge number of applications with only a single tick.
  • SSO is the most vital phase in safeguarding your business and its clients later on. Your business can involve SSO as the establishment for other security best works on including the arrangement of multifaceted confirmation (MFA) and the mix of character check, risk evaluation, and agree the board advances to address consistence prerequisites and decrease misrepresentation. SSO gets your organization off to the legitimate beginning and puts it up for future security.


  • SSO is easy to understand and pragmatic, however on the off chance that it's not conveyed or oversaw appropriately, it very well may be a security issue. SSO's troubles include:
  • Gambles related with client access: If an assailant gets a client's SSO qualifications, they likewise get admittance to all applications to which the client has consent. Along these lines, utilizing strategies for validation other than passwords is fundamental.
  • Likely blemishes: Attackers recently acquired unapproved admittance to casualties' web and versatile records in light of the fact that to imperfections found in SAML and OAuth. Working with a supplier who consolidates SSO with other verification elements and character administration into their item is urgent along these lines.
  • Application similarity: now and again, an application may not be designed as expected to work with a SSO framework. Whether through SAML, Kerberos, or OAuth, application suppliers ought to offer genuine SSO usefulness. Any other way, your SSO arrangement won't offer total inclusion and will just add one more secret key for clients to recollect.

Is SSO secure?

However, to guarantee that SSO is a marvel fix would be inaccurate. Cost, control, normalization (SAML versus OAuth), and security, surely, are difficulties related with conveying SSO. A site or administration may be gotten to by an aggressor professing to be the objective they were after because of verification issues like the Sign in with Apple weakness or the Microsoft OAuth defect.

Moreover, you ought to know that your SSO stage should be incorporated into the bigger corporate IT design, so you ought to painstakingly consider how to accomplish this while keeping up with your general security pose. A SSO framework, for example, could forestall security devices from recognizing the client's starting IP address when they attempt to go into your framework.

Notwithstanding this, utilizing single sign-on much of the time offers a more elevated level of safety than expecting clients to oversee various logins for big business applications. SSO explicitly diminishes the assault surface of your foundation since clients need to check in less regularly and recall less passwords. Directors can all the more effectively uphold security precautionary measures like 2FA and solid passwords when organization is unified. Most importantly SSO is normally in every case safer than a framework that doesn't utilize it, not less.

How do I integrate Wallarm with SSO solutions?

Through effective security arrangements, ventures might forestall information breaks utilizing the Wallarm security stage, an entrance the board framework. It empowers organizations to coordinate SSO across both interior and cloud-based organizations and conditions. A portable application that creates one-time passwords (OTPs) in view of occasions and times is likewise empowered, empowering consistent, secure 2FA across undertakings.



Using single sign‑on to Wallarm portal - Wallarm Documentation

Configuring SSO authentication for users - Wallarm Documentation

Connecting SSO with G Suite - Wallarm Documentation

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February 26, 2024
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